Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
(Photo: USFWS)

From the white sharks that silently patrol the Gulf of the Farallones to the graceful hammerheads that congregate at the Flower Garden Banks, sharks are some of the national marine sanctuaries' most beautiful - and important - underwater residents.

SHARK STEWARDSHIP: The information you share with others plays a crucial role in the protection of sharks. Learn more below and share what you learn!


Found in several national marine sanctauries, on both east and wests coasts, this torpedo shaped shark gets its name from its dark blue iridescent color. Slim and graceful, they can reach sizes of 12.5 ft. and more than 400 lbs.

They have much larger litters than most sharks, numbering as many as 80 pups in a single litter.

They are one of the most mobile sharks and commonly migrate 1,200-1,700 nautical miles, while sometimes traveling in groups working together to surround prey.


coconutUnfortunately, common myths have vilified sharks. Debunk the myths! We are more of a threat to them than they are to us. It is estimated that over 100 million sharks are killed annually by humans; on average, 10 people are killed each year, world-wide by sharks. You are 15 times more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a shark - about 150 people die each year from coconuts.

shark week logo

Discovery Channel Celebrates
25 Years of Shark Week

Don't miss the movie

Premiering Thursday, August 16, 9PM e/p

Right outside the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is home to some of the biggest great white sharks in the world... but only for part of the year. Teams of scientists from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey Bay have spent years tagging and tracking these sharks to find out why they come here, why they leave and where they go when they do - out into the Pacific on the Great White Highway.

great white sharkBut the sharks have kept much about their lives completely secret, leaving researchers with little information about what they spend their summers doing and almost no idea about where they mate or bear their young.

Now, armed with new technologies, the team is hoping to wire the ocean and find out how these sharks live their lives - and why California is one of the biggest stops on the Great White Highway.


Saved by a Shark

child and shark teeth

This lesson plan will depict the effect that sharks have in the Caribbean coral reef system and will show students how overfishing of sharks has a ripple effect on the marine ecosystem. Students will learn about the balance in the reef ecosystem among sharks and other carnivorous fish. Students will see that predatory behavior is not inherently negative and predators are a vital part of a balanced ecosystem. Video - Lesson plan

Shark mobile

child and shark teeth

If you're in the San Francisco area, bring this exciting program on shark biology to your school. Explore the myth and reality of sharks from around the world. Discover the unique daptations, diverse forms and lifestyles of sharks through hands-on artifacts and activities.

Group size: minimum 12, maximum 36. Length: 60 minutes. The program is offered for grades 4-6.
For more

Humpback Shark Attack

child and shark teeth

Officials from NOAA's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Mammal Response Network, responding to a report of an ailing humpback whale off the Kailua-Kona area of the Big Island, captured dramatic photographs of a tiger shark attack on a humpback whale that eventually resulted in the endangered marine mammal's death. Full story


tiger sharkCalifornia's Thank You Ocean Campaign is a nonprofit partnership supported by the State of California, National Marine Sanctuaries and the Ocean Communicators Alliance. The campaign mission is to raise awareness of the benefits the ocean provides to us and to identify ways each of us can help protect the ocean in our everyday lives. Sharks are featured in several podcasts.

Sharks at the Farallon Islands
The Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco are a haven for seals, seal lions, seabirds and sharks. Mary Jane Schramm, Media and Public Outreach Specialist for Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, shares the natural history of the sharks that inhabit this area and their important role in this ecosystem.

Protecting Great White Sharks
Great white sharks are an important part of the ecosystems off California's coast. Media and Public Outreach Specialist for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Mary Jane Schramm discusses new regulations to protect great white sharks in this sanctuary just west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

New California Law Protects Sharks Against Brutal Finning
Shark finning is a practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean to die. The fins are then dried and consumed in costly shark fin soup. California's historic Shark Protection Act, banning finning, was recently signed into law, working toward ending the destruction of shark species globally. Listen to an interview with Assembly Member Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael),who authored the groundbreaking bill.

galapagos sharkHelp Give Sharks a Fighting Chance
In celebration of their 100th Thank You Ocean Report podcast, Thank You Ocean launched a contest that let their fans select their favorite podcast. The winner: sharks! The Project AWARE Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization working with divers around the world to conserve underwater environments. On this report, former Director Jenny Miller Garmendia talked about one of their projects that is aimed at protecting sharks.

shark media library screen capture shark encyclopedia screen captureMORE SHARK AWESOMENESS

Get up and close and personal with more than 50 sharks by checking out the Sanctuary Shark Video Gallery and Encyclopedia.

While sharks like the hammerhead, whale and tiger may be more familiar names, there are dozens you've probably never heard about. The sixgill shark closely resembles fossils that date back to the triassic period more than 200 million years ago, the gray reef sharks will hunch their back, pointing their pectoral fins downward before attacking an intruder, and make sure you don't miss the basking shark - these guys can get up to 45 feet long!

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Revised June 21, 2013 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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